President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed the Cybercrimes Bill into law, meaning you will pay Sh5 million if you spread false information electronically.
The signing of Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, 2018 took place at State House in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The law criminalises abuse of persons on social media, removing the legal lacuna that existed.
The Act – which spells out stiff punishment to cybercriminals – provides for timely and effective detection, prohibition, prevention, response, investigation and prosecution of computer and cybercrimes.
This includes search and seizure of stored computer data, record of and access to seized data, production order for data, expedited preservation, partial disclosure, real-time collection and interception of data.
The Act establishes the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee and facilitates international co-operation in dealing with computer and cybercrime matters.
It deals with offences relating to computer systems including but not limited to unauthorised access, interference, interception and disclosure of passwords, as well as cyber espionage, false publications, child pornography, cyber terrorism and wrongful distribution of obscene or intimate images.
The Act also deals with computer forgery, computer fraud, cyber harassment, publication of false information, cybersquatting, identity theft and impersonation, phishing, interception of electronic messages or money transfers, willful misdirection of electronic messages and fraudulent use of electronic data among other cyber crimes.
Sharing fake news and propagating hate speech will attract a Sh5 million fine or a two-year prison sentence, or both.
Sharing pornography through the various electronic means will attract a maximum fine of Sh300,000 or 30 years in prison or both if proven.
Parliament passed the Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill last month despite protests from the media that it could be abused to stifle press freedom.
Most offences related to online harassment have previously been charged through the ancient Penal Code and the NCIC Act.
More on this: Uhuru to sign law on Sh5 million fines for fake news
Uhuru also assented to the Public Trustee (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which changes various provisions of the Public Trustee Act for conformity with the Constitution.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi presented the Bills and witnessed the signing alongside Deputy President William Ruto, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki and Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto.